Hyacinth macaws are beautiful and intelligent—and they were recently on the brink of extinction. These blue and yellow parrots’ popularity among pet owners, combined with widespread destruction of their natural habitats, brought the species to the edge of existence by 1987, with just 2,500 left in the wild. Then in 1990, conservation biologist Neiva Guedes founded Brazil’s Hyacinth Macaw Institute to protect these endangered birds by restoring the balance between humans and nature in the Pantanal, the largest wetland in South America. A naturalist armed with a Ph.D. in Zoology and a master’s degree in Forest Sciences, Professor Guedes and her team have spent the past three decades working to safeguard hyacinth macaws from manmade threats to the parrots’ survival, such as deforestation and the illegal pet trade. Join Professor Guedes and Brazilian Expedition Leader Helder Brandão de Oliveira to hear how the Hyacinth Macaw Institute uses scientific research and education to advance environmental preservation and endangered species protection in the Pantanal. You’ll be buoyed by this conservation success story, and you’ll get tips on how you can contribute to the protection of this still-vulnerable “king of parrots.”
Originally presented June 8, 2021
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